Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

By The Fates - Poem by Alfred Austin

By the fates that have fastened our life,
By the distance that holds us apart,
By our passion, its sweetness, its strife,
By the longing and ache of the heart;
By our meeting, our parting, our pain
When meeting and parting are o'er,-
Take me hence to where once I have lain,
Ere I die of despair and disdain,
I implore!

'Tis in vain that you bid me be calm.
Can we bridle our pulses at will?
Is fasting for hunger a balm?
Can emptiness emptiness fill?
Shall I wait till I shrivel with fire,
Till I perish of parching and thirst?
Shall I make of my passion a pyre,
And, martyred by drouth and desire,
Die accursed?

I appeal to the hills which beheld
The dawning, the day of our love;
To the moon, when our bosoms first swelled
With its birth, that watched fondly above;
To the city surpassingly fair,
To the revel, the rapture divine,
That flooded the earth and the air
When our mutinous secret lay bare,-
Am I thine?

Will you leave me to faint and to fall,
Plunge me back in the slough of despond?
Shall I be to earth's darkness a thrall,
When I see a whole heaven beyond?
Shall you, who might waken my shell,
Consign it to silence and shame,
And, just as the notes 'gin to swell,
With your hands smite the chords, and dispel
All its fame?

Be this, at your bidding, our doom,
Together, then, break we our chains!
There is hope, there is rest, in the tomb,
When in life nought but anguish remains.
If love be but one torment more,
Oh, come then the gulf or the glaive!
Let us live our delirium once o'er,
Just once, then the comfort explore
Of the grave!


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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